N’kira Brooks interned with Astroscale U.S. in the summer of 2023 and was hired as a full-time Test Engineer in the fall. Here’s what she had to say about her internship experience.
Introduce yourself! Where did you grow up?
A Virginia suburb outside of Richmond.
What is your role at Astroscale?
I’m a systems engineering intern. I worked with Muk [Mark Muktoyuk, Senior GNC Systems Engineer] to define RPO team research and learn what a lab would operate like. I also worked with Rebeca [Griego, Systems Engineer] on capture mechanisms and organize and update requirements for LEX.
Where did you go to college? What did you study?
I just graduated from NYU, with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in game design.
What sparked your interest in space?
My mom a huge fan of Star Wars! I remember putting up the Christmas tree one year and Star Wars was on, and it really stuck with me. On top of that I really gravitate toward the idea of space exploration.
Why did you choose to intern at Astroscale?
The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship introduced me to Astroscale, and I chose here specifically because of sustainability. It’s not something that is seen in space industry, and I think that all industries need to be sustainability focused.
What do you think of Colorado?
What has been the highlight of your internship?
Learning about the company and how different fields work together. How all departments need to work together a lot to make things work. Learning the different worlds and connectivity between departments since they don’t teach that in college.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
I plan to work for a year or two, and then go to grad school for ecology. I would love to grow things in space, and learn what else it would take to survive in space.
Which part of the office is your favorite?
Our outdoor Zen Garden. Sunlight = brain function
Who at Astroscale has been a great mentor to you and why?
I reported to Muk. He offered me endless great advice on starting a career in aerospace. I was nervous since this was my first internship ever. But he had such a calming and chill presence, I felt very comfortable. He was always encouraging and forthcoming with advice. Thank you Muk!
Rebeca was also an amazing mentor, she was so cool! She was very patient and understanding. Rebeca has really helped me to see paths within the Aerospace industry that can align with a variety of my interests.”
Advice for recent high school grads or potential interns?
Don’t feel the need to lock into your major yet. You have no idea how many industries are, and no one really tells you what’s out there. Take the time to explore what’s out there.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I love art, in traditional mediums like clay and painting. I’m good at art, and it’s a huge part of my life. Lately I’ve been getting into digital art, and also Feeling out film. I love storytelling and that’s why I minored in gamer design. So I also really like video games. My favorite game right now is Cult of the Lamb.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars! Nostalgia definitely gets me with this one. The interpersonal relationship storytelling is some of the best in any series. Anakin is my favorite character.
I’m really happy my first professional endeavor was Astroscale. You hear about toxic work environments, and companies that don’t care a lot. Astroscale cared about us. It was cool to see development of company in real time. Now I have a better understanding of seeing how you reach a goal.